The Whatnot Dilemma

May 18 to April 2, 2019


Hacienda RV Park,
Las Cruces, NM

ElizaBeth had the great idea to rent a spot at Hacienda RV Park in Las Cruces and then start shuttling supplies from the house to the motor home. We settled on a step-by-step process that consisted of driving a loop: triage the items at the house and drop some off to Goodwill. Deliver the rest of the load of “good stuff” to the motor home to see if it would fit. If there was no space in the motor home, the article then went to Goodwill on the way back. Repeat. Frequently, things that had already been loaded in the RV were pulled and replaced with more important items. Just as with corrective maintenance at work, it’s not about what you need, because it is all-important; it’s more about what you want most. Priorities.

A particular challenge is the Whatnots. We both had multiple collections of drawers, files, boxes, and bags that held our most valuable treasures. A screwdriver set for eyeglasses; a tiny magnet on a flexible spring for retrieving screws from hard to reach places; a 12-year-old slide rule for sizing generators, used once; post it notes; a letter opener from my son when he was in middle school that came with a pen and pencil set that I can’t find and don’t remember were just a few. I had three of these drawers at work and many more at home.

The interior of our 30T Sunstar RV has 1,674 cubic feet. If you can only think two-dimensionally, that’s 248 square feet with a 6’8” ceiling. Outside storage is 118 cubic feet. Half of that appears to be the storage tubs of Whatnots that are incredibly challenging to part with. Impossible, actually, until you find yourself constrained by space.

In between the round-robin trips, I went to work one day and my retirement party was on Friday. Many people took me to lunch, and I attended a meeting or two at NMSU. The retirement celebration was grand, and even though it was Spring Break a lot of old friends came bearing mementos. The NMSU Royale and Ancient golfers (Ron and Sharon, Angela and Greg, Janet and Eddie, Garrey and Kathy, and Scott) presented me with a golf carry bag, a picture of a hawk, and a frozen fowl that was purported to be a raptor but somewhat resembled a Cornish Hen. Heather and the FS team had several surprises not the least of which is a map that will help me find my way back should Garmin fail.

Some five or six years ago, Dario Silva spoke at an Administration and Finance meeting, and then we had him talk to us about civility at the FS workforce meeting. In both sessions, he gave out “challenge coins” to be passed around. Two of these were handed back to me at retirement, and another department also gave me a new one. There were many memorable moments.

Kelly Brooks and I have a special relationship going to back to our early days in FS, and we pretty much avoided each other at my retirement party because the tears would start flowing. Even though I told everyone we were downsizing and wanted to minimize gifts, a few folks were creative. The golf carry bag was such an example, and Heather had everyone sign a table cloth for a picnic table. Kelly left a box of supplies on my desk that I found later, with all sorts of gadgets that included matches, a collapsible box, a puck light; a box of specially selected RV Whatnots!


As we were packing up the house for the last trip, we were joined by our old friend the Swainson’s hawk!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *